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End of try drought means no 'nudie run' for Asiata

Beau Scott of the Eels tackles John Asiata of the Cowboys during their semi-final.
Beau Scott of the Eels tackles John Asiata of the Cowboys during their semi-final. DEAN LEWINS

JOHN Asiata broke one of the longest try-scoring droughts in NRL history on Saturday, but he's never done a 'nudie run'.

Despite taking longer than any current player to break his duck, the Cowboys prop has somehow escaped the indignity of one of rugby league's most feared traditions.

How? Let the devout Christian explain.

"This is my fourth year (at the Cowboys). The first year I didn't drink alcohol, so they let me scoll a beer," he said after scoring his first NRL try in his 76th game against Parramatta.

"The second year I didn't go to Mad Monday so I didn't do it, and last year I got married on Mad Monday, so I didn't do it.

"This year I scored a try, so I don't have to do it again. I'm happy with that."

Only five players - Jason Lowrie, Ben Cross, Joel Clinton, Scott Anderson and Garret Crossman - have waited longer to score their first four-pointer.

Asiata's came in unexpected fashion. With the Cowboys down 10-6 early in the second half, the 24-year-old chased through an awkward-bounding Michael Morgan kick, outleaping Eels fullback Will Smith to score.

"I didn't know what to do, I think my last try was probably in Qld Cup last year," Asiata said.

"The boys ask me how I would celebrate and I had a few (try scoring celebrations) up my sleeve, but the moment actually happened I was just jumping with joy.

"It's a good feeling to do it in a finals game when we needed to score points at the time.

"We talk about the extra effort and competing and not letting anyone down."

Asiata's wife Shailah gave birth to the couple's first child, Eleana, at the end of August.

But instead of nursing his daughter, Asiata was nursing a broken hand with an ice pack in the sheds after the Eels win.

Several teammates are playing busted, and Asiata also refuses to miss the biggest games of the season after suffering the injury against Cronulla in the first week of finals.

"Everyone's doing it tough out there. I made the decision during the week I want to do the same and tough it out," he said.

"It's sore at the moment and it's getting worse now (straight after game).

"I had to shorten my passes up a bit, but it's all good."

Asiata will play his former team the Roosters for a grand final berth on Saturday at Allianz Stadium.

Fiercely loyal to his family, he wanted to stay in Sydney but now views following Cowboys coach Paul Green to Townsville as the best decision he's made.

"I'm really family oriented and wanted to stay in Sydney, but I didn't get that opportunity," Asiata said.

"My mum and dad encouraged me to take that step, to move on and try and do something in rugby league. It was the best decision.

"It's always tough to leave your family, moving away from home with no one there and not knowing what Townsville was like.

"But I have a great group of boys here who are pretty much my family now."

Topics:  john asiata north queensland cowboys nrl2017 nrl finals 2017

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